Whether you’re an outdoor buff preparing for a backpacking expedition or you’re just planning to spend a nice day outside, it is essential to be mindful of your clothing before you start hiking, especially during cold weather months.
Weather conditions change quickly in the outdoors, and body temperatures can drop very fast. When your body loses more heat than it produces, resulting in your temperature to drop below 95 °F (35 °C), it causes hypothermia which is a life-threatening condition.
One way to prevent hypothermia is to ensure that you have proper clothing before heading out on a hike. It starts with the materials of the clothes you wear. We strongly recommend that you do not wear cotton, especially in cold weather. Cotton breathes too much and isn’t warm enough to keep you safe from hypothermia. When it gets wet, it is slow to dry and holds moisture against your body.
We recommend wearing wicking fabric to keep the moisture away from your skin as you sweat so that you can stay dry. Your feet are important as they support you on your adventures so you want to make sure they are well taken care of. We advise hikers to use 100% wool socks because they retain warmth even when wet. They dry fast and keep you protected in any season.
The next step is layering! It is crucial to protect your body from hypothermia. Wear several layers, and bring extras just in case you need more.
We recommend the following rule:
- First layer: Wear wicking fabric next to your skin. Get a long-sleeved undershirt and long johns made from this type of polyester.
- Second layer: Wear wool or another warm fabric over the base layer. Wool is the best choice for cold weather, since it breathes yet provides great insulation and is very warm.
- Third layer: Wear a waterproof or a windproof layer on top. Find out what type of climate you might encounter and put on one more layer to protect yourself. You might also need a windbreaker or rainproof gear to keep your other layers from getting wet.
A few additional tips:
- The following areas of your body need extra layering: groin, armpits, head, neck, and sides of chest.
- Layer your socks and gloves to keep your hands safe of frostbites.
- Bring additional layers in case your clothes get wet. If you’re packing for an expedition, pack your extra layers in a waterproof plastic bag to keep them dry.
- Stay dry as much as you can! Moisture is your worst enemy for hypothermia. Avoid wet areas unless you're wearing waterproof shoes and waterproof covers for the bottom of your legs to keep your feet and legs dry.
Kakuetta Trail ™ brand provides premium hiking and outdoor gear for the adventure buff. Click here for more information on Kakuetta Trail socks.